Three chile chutney

I can feel the collective eye rolling and lip muttering, all the way across ye old world wide web. Chutney? Really? A southwestern chutney? Have they lost their marbles?

Well, perhaps, but that’s a whole different conversation.

Before you start grumbling that we’ve gone all hoity-toity at Chile Trail HQ, let me stop you. A chutney is simply fruit and/or vegetables with spices, vinegar and sugar. That’s it. And that’s exactly what this is: three different chiles, red peppers, tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. Oh and some fresh ginger.

In this festive season, we like to think of the chiles as the three kings of this recipe. We’ve got chipotle, habanero and ancho. Chipotle comes in like a smoking powerhouse, all puffed up and pumped. Habanero slides in with citrus notes, lulls you into a false sense of security, then hits you with a hot smack on the lips. Ancho sighs and tsk’s tsk’s at the show-offs, marvelling at its own self-restraint.

This chutney is sweet and sour and jammy and hot and if you don’t like it then our friendship is over. This makes three small jars if you feel like spreading the Christmas cheer or one large one if you’d like to hang out alone, content with a loaf of bread, some goat’s cheese and your own southwestern chutney.

Chutney. There. I said it.

1 whole Ancho chile

1 whole Chipotle chile

1 whole Habanero chile

1” knob of ginger, peeled and chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 long red peppers, about 12 oz., deseeded and chopped

14oz. can of crushed tomatoes

6 oz. sherry vinegar

12 oz./1 ½ cups sugar

Put the three chiles in a small bowl and cover with hot, almost boiling water. Set aside for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and pliable. Remove the stems and seeds and roughly chop.

Place the chopped ginger, garlic, red peppers, crushed tomatoes, chile peppers and sherry vinegar in a blender. Blitz on high speed until pureed.

Pour the puree into a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 40-45 minutes until reduced and jammy. Some scum may form on the surface. Don’t panic — just skim that off. Pour into sterilized glass jars and seal.

 

 

 

Macerated Berries with Habanero Chile & Lime

It’s summertime and as the lyrics go, the living is easy. I have no idea if your daddy is rich or if your mother is remotely good looking. And far be it from me to pry into your family photo album.

But I will say that it is summer and you must take it easy. Put the phone down, walk away from your computer, and stop watching all of those cute dog videos. Instead, sit outside. Take a deep breath. Watch a sunset. Write words like these that belong on a cheesy greeting card.

And eat. Eat like it’s summer and everything is ripe at the same time. Because, news flash, it is. It’s crazy time where you’re spoiled for choice. Berries, whether it’s straw, black, rasp or – you get the idea – are pretty darn tooting perfect right now. So indulge. Add some habanero chile with its fruity notes (I’ve been dying to say that) and serve with some COYO coconut yogurt alternative and you are golden. Just like your tan. Don’t you love summer?

Note: macerating is a fancy pants way of saying to mix fruit with some liquid to let juices form. So there.

Serves 3-4

1 lb mixed berries – strawberries with either blackberries and/or raspberries

1 Tbsp sugar

1 lime, zest and juice

¼ tsp habanero chile powder

Serve with COYO coconut yogurt alternative natural

Hull the strawberries to remove the stem. Rather than slicing the top off, which wastes a lot of berry, take a small knife and make a circular incision around the stem. This helps to remove both the stem and the white pith inside the berry without losing any berry loveliness.

Put the strawberries with any other berries you’re using, along with the sugar, lime juice and zest and the chile powder in a bowl. The habanero packs a punch, so if you’re nervous, start with 1/8 teaspoon and work up to find your chile comfort zone. Give the fruit a gentle stir and set aside to macerate for 15-30 minutes.

Serve with a healthy dollop of COYO and a spoonful of the juices. Sit back and enjoy.

 

Dark Chocolate Chile Brownies

I think that the world would be a better place if we only ate more chocolate. You laugh, but I’ve got science on my side. Chocolate contains things with long names that do things to our brains that make us happy. Hope that wasn’t too technical? And yes, I could go into more detail but I’ve got a chile business to run, so just trust me, okay?

And everyone knows that chiles are good for you (natch) so if you combine the two, then you basically have world peace on a plate. I’d best get a tux and my acceptance speech ready for my Nobel Peace Prize. I’m so excited.

Now, chocolate and chile isn’t a new combination. Montezuma drank his hot chocolate with chile in it and mole is a splendid concoction of yumminess featuring – yep, you guessed it – chile and chocolate. So it only made sense to bring these two star-crossed lovers together in a chocolate brownie.

It’s got habanero for heat, chipotle for smokiness and our Chimayo blend because I never can leave well enough alone.

Makes 1-8×8” pan

4 oz (½ cup) unsalted butter + extra to grease the pan

2 oz. dark chocolate

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 – ¼ tsp Chile Habanero powder (depending how hot you like it)

½ tsp Chile Chipotle powder

½ tsp Chile Chimayo blend chile powder

¾ cup sifted flour

½ cup walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°

Grease an 8×8” pan.

Place the butter and chocolate in a bowl and set over a pan of simmering water to melt. Remove and stir in the sugar – it will look like grainy chocolate sand, but don’t worry. Slowly mix in the eggs. Then add the vanilla and the three chile powders. Gently fold in the flour and finally the nuts.

Gently fold in the flour — you’re not trying to beat it to death

Spread into the prepared pan. Place in the oven and check after 15 minutes, turning the pan if need be. The brownies are done, when they start to pull away from the pan slightly and a metal skewer inserted in the center of the pan is hot to the touch. Total cooking time should be about 20 minutes. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Slice and serve.

Ready to go into the oven.